The all out gang warfare that Spoiler unwittingly instigated continues unabated. A kidnapping attempt by one of Gotham’s many rival gangs ends up with Darla Aquista, daughter of a mob boss and Tim’s girlfriend, dead and Batman on the local news. Spoiler has escaped the custody of Catwoman in an attempt to try and fix the disaster she set in motion. Unfortunately she runs afoul of an old enemy of Batman’s and spends most of the volume strung up by her wrists at the mercy of a sophisticated psychopath. Tim’s reaction to Darla’s death and the chaos of Gotham is clearly the emotional center of the book. His gradual understanding that he cannot sit by and simply watch when he knows he could be of use, and his final decision to break his promise to his father and return to being Robin is interesting and well done, as is Batman’s guarded relief and pleasure and Alfred and Leslie’s less secret disappointment. Less well executed is Batman’s reaction to the situation. He’s running roughshod over everyone from Oracle to former Commissioner Gordon for no particularly apparent reason. By the end of the volume it’s hard to feel that Batman is doing the right thing for himself, his companions or Gotham. It’s even harder to like him.
As in the first volume the artwork is hit or miss. Everyone was less busty which is a relief, but the trade-off is even tighter than usual costumes for the women. I didn’t love the art, a lot of it felt sloppy and had the oddest use of perspective. It definitely didn’t add much to the story line, but I was too irritated by the plot to be really annoyed by the art.
Batman: War Games, Act 2–Tides
By Bill Willingham and Ed Brubaker
Art by Al Barrionuevo and Paul Gulac
DC Comics 2005